The Q&A Archives: Armandi Clematis

Question: I have two Armandi clematis vines. One is on the east side of the house, vining under a porch. the leaves would eventually turn brown, also had powdery mildew. I think thatIi solved that problem when I cut it back and opened up so more air would circulate around it. This one gets morning and early afternoon sun. My problem now is with the vine on the s.w. side of the house, growing on an arbor. It seems to be very healthy then now suddenly the leaves are turning yellow then brown from the main stem and all underneath, or more or less where it seems a bit more protected from the sun. Please advise - should it be pruned all back, too much sun, help- it is about 6 yrs old.

Answer: Clematis have only a few requirements: the roots need to be cool and the tops need to be in the sun. They thrive in rich, porous soil, and need to be watered and fertilized regularly during the growing season. Apply a complete liquid fertilizer monthly (follow label directions for dilution). If your plants are struggling, they'll be more susceptible to diseases. The treatment you've given to the plant under the porch may take care of the powdery mildew. The plant growing on the arbor may need pruning, as well, to help open it up to better air circulation, and to promote the growth of new stems. If you pinch the growing tips out you'll force new growth at the base of the plant. That should help fill it in and avoid a bare base. Armandi clematis needs frequent pinching throughout the growing season, to prevent the buildup of dead stems and vines in the center of the plant.

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